It has all the elements of a great celebration—games, music, food, and fun—but Farmworker Appreciation Day is more than just a party. Held each summer in Grant, the event is also an expression of gratitude to the migrant and seasonal workers in Newaygo County whose hard work is critical to local farmers and to the economy.
“These individuals work hard to put food on our tables,” said Mary Rangel, one of the event’s organizers and Community Foundation trustee. She understands firsthand many of the challenges the workers face. She has clear memories of carrying a change of clothes to school so that she could head right out to the fields when the final bell rang.
“You don’t truly appreciate what they do until you get out there in the field yourself,” said Mary. “They sacrifice so much and their work makes life easier for the rest of us.”
Sponsored in part by a grant from the Community Foundation, Farmworker Appreciation Day features a host of free resources, activities, and services like blood pressure checks. Families enjoy a cookout and children can get ready for the school year with haircuts, school supplies, and new shoes.
“I love seeing the families come in and feel good about the day,” said Mary. “They know we see how hard they work.”